This book gets an A+ for originality. The whole idea of only teenagers being able to have children and the effects on society is thought provoking. I looked forward to reading this book. The idea behind it seemed fabulous. Unfortunately, I was really disappointed. My poor balloon of anticipation was deflated soon after starting the book.
I hate focusing on negatives in books. I think every piece of literature has at least one positive aspect. As I already said, originality is a plus for this book. I also really like the characters Zen and Melody. They were a nice pairing. Zen didn't fit into any of the norms for the new society, which made him instantly likeable. He had a wonderful charismatic personality and a "screw it" attitude. Melody was conflicted. She was destined to be a surrogate, but the idea never set well with her. I liked her whole transformation from follower to leader. If the book only focused on these two characters, I would have loved it. They made the book.
Unfortunately, there were other characters. Harmony, Melody's long lost identical twin, and Johndoe. I could not stand Harmony's character. I thought she was a scheming, double crossing, "godfreaky" witch. I know that's not the way I was supposed to feel about her, but I couldn't help it. The moment she saw Johndoe's image and realized that he was supposed to be the other half of the surrogate for Melody, she decided to counterfeit Melody's identity to try to "convert" the gorgeous piece of man meat. What a load of crap. There was no intention of conversion. Let's call it like it is-- she was a lusty hooch. Honestly. Bah! Needless to say the entire concept behind Harmony ticked me off. With each page that focused on her I became more irritated. I didn't even want to read her chapters! But I knew I had to in order to know what was going on. Then there was Johndoe. He was flat and boring. So disappointed.
The other thing that irked me about this book was the over the top stereotypes. I know with satires (which this book falls into that category) you tend to magnify the stereotypes, but this book fell short. I think that Mel's part in the book was well thought out. Again, I really liked her character. She was conflicted and more believable. But Harmony's role was a waste of my time. Am I really supposed to believe that she justified cheating on her husband (who may or may not be gay-- WTH?!) because she thought she was doing God's work by sleeping with Johndoe and furthering the population? That just made my blood boil. She was so easily swayed. She came across as a self-righteous floozy.
And then there was the ending! What a mess. It was so rushed and ill-suited to the whole book. Harmony instantly knows she's pregnant and realizes she made a mistake by sleeping (several times) with Johndoe. So she goes back to her husband, Ram, and they decide to return to their commune and raise the child as their own in outcast mode. Lame. Oh, and then Johndoe miraculously shows up on Mel's doorstep looking for Harmony because he loves her, but he's too late. So together, he and Mel, set off to find Harmony. At least that's what you're supposed to assume since it never shows what decision Mel and Johndoe reach.
I know a lot of people liked this book. I just wasn't one of them. It bothered me on so many levels. If it only focused on Zen and Mel, it would be much better. If I had a do-over, I wouldn't bother reading this one. I am so thankful it was free on Netgalley, and I didn't spend money on it. I even took it off my R.A.K wishlist. I don't want anyone spending money on this one (on my account).
Some of the characters were well thought out.
To be honest, I wouldn't read this book if I had known what it was about, I would have skimmed. The only part about the book that kept me reading were the two main characters, Melody and Harmony. The whole book was a bunch of cliches, some created by the author, some as obvious as the names Melody and Harmony. Basically, this is a dystopian novel where only the teens can have babies. This makes teens a hot commodity and a way to get revenue. Parents take advantage of their children's reproductivity, children are having kids before age 11, jingles and bands are centered around fertility, etc... Melody and Harmony are identical twin sisters. Harmony grew up in a very churchy environment while Melody grew up as "queen bee" of her clique. Harmony enters Melody's life right before Melody is scheduled to bump with Jondoe, a hot sperm donor. It turns out that Harmony left her church community for more reasons than just to see Melody, she falls in love with Jondoe and impersonates Melody. Melody is wooed by her best friend, Zen, throughout the novel. The only problem is Zen's verticality, he is too short to be a viable sperm donor and Melody is worth too much money to just let her womb be open to anything. The novel continues with many revelations, surprises, etc... I enjoyed and grew to love Melody and Harmony, they were the only parts of the book that kept me from putting the book down. I grew tired of the constant "fertilicious" components of the novel, I got the idea already! The concept, while interesting, is almost a little too much on the gross side for me (the author has an 11 year old giving birth). Then there's the fact that I saw no scientific evidence of how this "virus" could possibly render the majority of the possibility infertile (I am a scientist by nature and want answers darn it!). To conclude, I would skim this book if I were the new reader. While there are good parts, the other parts a little on the controversial and downright annoying side.